FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2015
Pamela Murphy, MSW
Vice President of Government Relations
Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH
President and CEO
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) President and CEO, Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, today issued the following statement on the release of the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget. The President’s annual budget request proposes the Administration’s goals for federal revenue and spending, program-by-program funding levels, and projects deficits and surpluses. Please note: the President’s budget is a guiding framework that provides recommendations for Congress to consider during its annual appropriations process.
AACOM appreciates the investments in the nation’s primary care workforce with a particular focus on health care for rural and underserved areas in the President’s budget proposal. Specifically, we are encouraged by the expanded support for research within the National Institutes of Health and the increased investment in the National Health Service Corps. However, we urge a stronger investment in programs of importance to the nation’s physician workforce and the patients they serve, such as the Title VII health professions workforce programs, including the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program, which is eliminated in the President’s budget proposal.
AACOM continues to strongly support the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program, which directly addresses the nation’s critical primary care physician workforce shortage by training medical residents in urban and rural underserved communities. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, physicians who train in teaching health centers are three times more likely to work in such centers and more than twice as likely to work in underserved areas as physicians who train in other settings. The THCGME Program’s funding will expire by September, and the program will cease to continue training these future physicians unless Congress recognizes the vital role of this program and intervenes. AACOM urges the continued investment in this crucial program.
Similarly, while we appreciate the Administration’s focus on simplifying and streamlining federal student financial aid programs and processes, AACOM strongly stresses the need for federal policies to sustain and enhance programs of importance to osteopathic medical students across the country. As Congress addresses the growing student loan debt crisis during the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, AACOM strongly advocates for lower graduate and professional student loan interest rates, educational tax incentives, and support for programs which encourage medical students to train and practice in underserved communities. AACOM looks forward to working with the Administration and with Congress throughout the budget and appropriations process to ensure that the FY16 federal budget strengthens and invests in programs of significance to osteopathic medical education, physicians-in-training, and the broader health care system.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) represents the 30 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. These colleges are accredited to deliver instruction at 42 teaching locations in 28 states. In the 2014-15 academic year these colleges are educating over 24,600 future physicians – more than 20 percent of US medical students. Six of the colleges are public and 24 are private institutions.
AACOM was founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. AACOM’s mission is to promote excellence in osteopathic medical education, in research and in service, and to foster innovation and quality among osteopathic medical colleges to improve the health of the American public.